Cedar River Delta

Text by Jim flynn

Puget Sound area was members looking for a new place to bird in Greater Seattle should check into the Cedar River delta. This wonderful area is tucked between the Renton Airport on the west and the Renton Boeing plant on the east. To reach it, go east on Airport Way from Rainier Ave North. Follow Airport Way as it curves left and crosses over the Cedar River then becomes Logan Avenue North. This road comes to a “T” after about a half mile, where it hits North 6th Street. Dead ahead is an entrance to Boeing, but to the left the road goes into the Cedar River Park.

Birding is best at the end of the road, where you can park and walk up on the little hill that overlooks the delta and the south end of Lake Washington. A scope helps but isn’t vital.

There are hordes of gulls here from August through April. Gulls also can be seen more closely on a bar about 200 yards up the river. This is the best spot to look closely for Herring and Thayer’s Gulls. Also present are Glaucous-winged, Ring-billed, California, and Mew gulls, which stream down the river at dusk from parts unknown.

Other birds usually present are both goldeneye species; Hooded and Common mergansers; Bufflehead; Canvasback; scaup; Western, Horned, and Pied-billed grebes; and other waterbird species. Western Grebes and coots gather at the south end of the lake in flocks up to 300 or so birds – quite a contrast between the elegant grebes and the comical coots. There’s always a surprise or two for visitors.

It may be the best inland birding spot in South King County during winter, with the possible exception of the Kent Ponds.

Link to King County site plus map